The Best Drones for Forestry Projects

November 8

Advances in drone technologies mean they’re being used in more forestry and agriculture projects than ever. The best drones for forestry are efficient, cost-effective and capable of delivering accurate decision-making data.

With broad uses throughout the industry, drones are quickly being adopted by plantations, conservation groups, government agencies and private operators across Australia. In this article we’re going to look at the best drones for forestry and how they’re being put to use in an evolving industry.


How Drones Are Used for Forestry Management

Drones have quickly become an irreplaceable part of forestry. Not only are drones environmentally friendly and cost-effective, they can provide accurate data so project leaders can make smarter decisions. Drone solutions are deployed throughout the forestry industry. The most common applications include:

  • Drone mapping can be used to capture images and rapidly create detailed maps of forests and plantations.
  • Through LiDAR and imaging sensors, drones can be used to create 3D models of forestry environments.
  • Thermal imaging drones can monitor the condition of trees, reveal signs of harmful diseases, search for wildlife and detect trespassers and arsonists.
  • Post-processing software can be used to provide data about tree counts, size, height, volume and more.
  • Crop spraying drones can perform pest and weed management to improve the efficiency of a plantation, and seeding drones can assist with spreading fertilisers and seeds in hard-to-reach areas.
  • The repeatability of drone management systems makes them effective for monitoring changes over long periods.


The Challenges of Forestry Work

The forestry industry presents a number of challenges that can make management and monitoring projects difficult. The best drones for forestry can alleviate these issues and deliver accurate results time and again:

  • Large areas. The key challenge of forestry is the sheer size of most plantations. Working over hundreds of hectares takes months, even for large teams. Forestry drones can rapidly collect information over expansive forests and provide detailed data from the farthest corners of your project. 

  • Difficult terrain. Whether you’re surveying a man-made plantation or a national park, the density of trees and difficult terrain make it difficult to obtain useful survey information. Drones are perfect for accessing difficult terrain and capturing useful m mapping and sensor data that would be difficult to collect by hand.

  • Managing plantation health. Looking after the health of your plantation is key to creating value for your business. Monitoring tens of thousands of trees is difficult, but drones use specialty sensors and software to provide detailed information about the health of your trees and the wildlife living among them.


The Best Drones for Forestry Management and Monitoring

Drone manufacturers are evolving rapidly to keep up with the changing demands of industries such as forestry. While new technologies are always in development, the current generation of drones is capable of producing highly accurate forestry data for all types of projects. The best drones for forestry work typically fall into two categories:

  • Multi-rotor platforms. Multi-rotors are the classic drones we know and love. Capable of carrying a wide range of payloads like imaging cameras, thermal sensors, LiDAR sensors, radar and GPS receivers, multi-rotor platforms are some of the best drones for forestry projects. For our work, we typically deploy a DJI Matrice 300 RTK. These highly flexible drones have a large carrying capacity, long flight times and they’re suitable for deployment in tight forestry environments. For projects involving spraying or seeding, the dedicated DJI Agras T30 is our preferred platform.

  • Powered Lift/VTOL platforms. For especially large projects, powered lift or Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) platforms may be the best drones for forestry. VTOL drones can be equipped with the same sensors as multi-rotor platforms, but they have much longer ranges, making them suitable for mapping large plantations and natural environments. The Foxtech Celtus is an example of a VTOL platform we commonly use for this purpose, and it’s one of the best drones for forestry work.


Execute Successful Forestry Projects with Toll Uncrewed Systems

Australia’s forestry industry is growing rapidly, with government-backed plans calling for the expansion of timber plantations across the country. Drones have evolved quickly and they now offer the most cost-effective and efficient means of delivering successful forestry and preservation projects.

Our mix of aerial mapping, thermal imaging and crop spraying technologies allows us to provide comprehensive solutions to all types of forestry works. Feel free to get in touch at any time! We’d love to discuss your needs and assist you with drone services to simplify your next forestry project.


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